A pioneer in the field of electroacoustics celebrated his 95th birthday on May 9th. Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser has had a decisive influence on the development of sound transmission technology with his company Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co. KG. It was in June 1945 that Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser founded his “Laboratorium Wennebostel” with a staff of just seven employees in an abandoned laboratory of Hanover’s Technical University. Virtually overnight, the developer became a businessman—and a very successful one at that. Today, more than 1,650 people work for Sennheiser throughout the world, and the company now has production sites in Germany, Ireland, and the USA.
The history of electroacoustics in Europe is inseparably linked with the name Fritz Sennheiser. Born in Berlin, Fritz Sennheiser grew up to experience, and to influence, many epoch-making developments in electroacoustics and transmission technology. Even as a young boy, he had a keen interest in all things technical. “I built my own radio receiver in 1924 from a slide coil and a crystal,” the 95-year-old recalls. His passion for making new discoveries has accompanied Fritz Sennheiser throughout his life. He describes it as his ‘creative restlessness’ “We were always dissatisfied with the ‘state-of-the-art’ and always wanted to create something new, something better. Our main priority was to have fun in developing something. And we certainly had a lot of fun when we discovered something really new. We had so many ideas. While others were busy copying our products, we already had our next inventions up our sleeve.”
The family company’s most important innovations included the shotgun microphone in the 1950s, open-back headphones in the 1960s, infrared transmission technology in the 1970s, and the revolutionary developments in multi-channel wireless technology in the early 1980s. In 1982, Fritz Sennheiser handed the management of the company over to his son, Prof. Dr. Jörg Sennheiser, who has continued to secure the company’s success and is today chairman of the Supervisory Board.
Even today, the company still places great emphasis on research and development, in keeping with Fritz Sennheiser’s motto of “allowing our developers to give free rein to their creative ideas, no matter how crazy they might seem,” as it is often these ideas that result in the best developments and the best products.